Two 99 Cents Sales and Two Giveaways

Happy Friday readers! We have a weekend treat for you, as two of our books (both dragon themed) are on sale for 99 cents, and we’re also running Amazon giveaways on two titles.

Check out the details below.

Dragon Redeemer, by Amy Bearce – 99 Cents Jan 5 – 10

The voice calls. A sword will answer.

Four years have passed since a fairy swarm released the voice of prophecy in Nell Brennan. In that painful moment, a skilled warrior became a reluctant leader and defender of Aluvia’s magic. Now a new enemy threatens their still-fragile lands, one Nell feels powerless to stop even with help from the voice within her.

A mysterious dark alchemist from the Ice-Locked Lands is rising to power on the strength of his sword arm and an ice-breathing dragon obedient to his command. He promises unlimited magic to his followers and death to those who defy him. If he takes over the ports, his corrupt elixirs will disrupt the delicate balance of peace between Aluvia’s people and all magical creatures.

The voice of prophecy sends Nell and her friends to their enemy’s treacherous domain to find a sword of legend. Only the sword’s magic can prevent a return to a world of dying fairies and caged merfolk. But Nell’s up against the toughest foe she’s ever faced.

In order to defeat him, she must master the unimaginable power of the sword―and the unwanted magic inside herself.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon, by Rena Rocford – 99 Cents Jan 5 – 10

Allyson fights acne, not trolls.

As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth.

When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath.

Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him.

Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cogling, by Jordan Elizabeth – giveaway January 13 – 18

When fifteen-year-old Edna Mather tears an expensive and unfamiliar pocket watch off her little brother’s neck, he crumbles into a pile of cogs right before her eyes. Horrified, Edna flees for help, but encounters Ike, a thief who attempts to steal the watch before he realizes what it is: a device to power Coglings—clockwork changelings left in place of stolen children who have been forced to work in factories.

Desperate to rescue her brother, Edna sets off across the kingdom to the hags’ swamp, with Ike in tow. There, they learn Coglings are also replacing nobility so the hags can stage a rebellion and rule over humanity. Edna and Ike must stop the revolt, but the populace believes hags are helpful godmothers and healers. No one wants to believe a lowly servant and a thief, especially when Ike has secrets that label them both as traitors.

Together, Edna and Ike must make the kingdom trust them or stop the hags themselves, even if Ike is forced to embrace his dark heritage and Edna must surrender her family.

Amazon US

Shoeburn and the Ill-Fitting Necklace, by Shoeburn Ruffett – giveaway January 4 – 11

Shoeburn Ruffet is forced into finding the whereabouts of a business magnate’s lost piece of jewellery. Regina Wendle, the most powerful woman in Welt Foot and the business magnate, will unleash bees, sink phoney submarines, and sabotage helicopter outings until her necklace is found. Shoeburn will do slightly less exciting stuff to figure out what the necklace’s true purpose is. The necklace has something to do with him. It has something to do with his father. It may even have something to do with his dead mother, who could or could not be Regina Wendle. Shoeburn does a few heroic things in this story amidst all his blundering, but he’s not really a hero. He just finds himself unable to say ‘no’ in a situation that isn’t about a missing necklace but is instead one in which a necklace goes missing. He’d just rather not be there at all.

Amazon US

Are You Ready to Become a Bond Villain?!

Feeling evil? Want to take over the world? Already started interviewing henchmen?

Now’s your chance. For the next two weeks, Curiosity Quills is offering you the chance to win the opportunity to become the villain in the next book in the Jane D Everly/Andrew Buckley Spy Thriller Series – HAVELOCK 2: THE KILL LIST

All you have to do is purchase either a print or e-book copy of Havelock from Amazon and email proof of purchase to for your chance to win. Winners will be chosen by random draw and there are lots of chances to win! Actually, you can’t lose . . .

GRAND PRIZE WINNER (The Mastermind) – Everly/Buckley will name the main villain in HAVELOCK 2 after you. You’ll also receive an exclusive early copy of the printed book along with associated merchandise and promo items, and digital copies of Everly/Buckley’s other works: Havelock, Stiltskin, Death, The Devil and The Goldfish, and Hair in All the Wrong Places.

RUNNER UP x1 (The ‘Oddjob’) – Everly/Buckley will name the villain’s main henchman after you in HAVELOCK 2. Your chances of survival are 50/50. You’ll also receive an exclusive early copy of the e-book along with promo items.

RUNNER UP x1 (The ‘Pussy Galore’) – Everly/Buckley will name a potential love interest (male or female) after you in HAVELOCK 2 . You’ll also receive an exclusive early copy of the e-book along with promo items.

RUNNERS UP x5 (The ‘Nice Knowing You’ Group) – Everly/Buckley will name a character after you in HAVELOCK 2. That character will not have a happy ending. You’ll also receive an exclusive early copy of the e-book along with promo items.

RUNNERS UP x3 (The ‘Good Guys’) – Everly/Buckley will name character after you in HAVELOCK 2. Not only will your survive, but you’ll also play an integral part in the story. You’ll also receive an exclusive early copy of the e-book along with promo items.

EVERYONE ELSE (The Best of the Rest) – Everly/Buckley will make every attempt to work everyone’s name into HAVELOCK 2. If it’s not possible, then your name will instead pop up in one of the forthcoming HAVELOCK Short Stories.

What are you waiting for? Grab your copy! This contest will self-destruct in fourteen days!

cover1000Havelock

Eliana Havelock is a female with no past, whose determination to bring down a Karachi arms dealer catches the attention of the British Secret Intelligence Service. MI-6 is currently fractured due to political upheaval with many of its covert programs dissolved or disbanded. When Eliana presents the opportunity to divert an international arms disaster, the head of MI-6 partners her with one of it’s best and brightest, the enigmatic, Connor Blackwell. But in a world of secrets and hidden agendas, who can Eliana trust? And what, or who, is Eliana really after?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Chest of Bone Cover Reveal and Pre Order Announcement

Curiosity Quills is excited to share the cover for Vicki Stiefel’s forthcoming paranormal, fantasy, romance, thriller CHEST OF BONE, which will be released on February 14, 2017!

Chest of Bone is avaliable now for pre-order, and those who pre-order will get the book three days before the offical release, on February 11 instead of 14! In addition, if you send your proof of pre-order to marketing@curiosityquills.com, you will win a prize bundle including:

coverChest of Bone

As magical and mundane worlds retwine, empath and unawakened Mage Clea Reese must team up with the secretive and complex James Larrimer to hunt her mentor’s killer and stop the forces of corruption from obtaining the elusive Chest of Bone, the ultimate source of otherworldly power.


As Clea’s beloved mentor Dave Cochran lays dying, tortured by a sadistic killer, he unlocks her nascent Mage powers, tasks her to find a mysterious chest and guard his daughter, Lulu.
Not that Clea believes in “real” magic or understands she’s becoming The Key. She’s focused on revenge—on ending the man who destroyed her world.
Point man in hunting Cochran’s killer, James Larrimer is a predator who pursues endangered-animal traders. Or so it appears. Unbeknownst to Clea, Larrimer’s prime directive is to obtain the most exotic creature of all—Clea Reese.


Forces both powerful and strange align against them, as they, too, seek the all-powerful Chest. Only Clea and Larrimer stand between these malignant forces—self righteous in belief and unfettered by conscience—and their ruthless quest.


None of the players are prepared for the fusion of Clea’s and Larrimer’s song, a wild and harmonic resonance which can bind one to the other.
With the lives of those they love at stake, drawn inexorably to one another, will deception and death destroy Clea’s and Larrimer’s song? Or can they ferret out the killer, reclaim the Chest of Bone, and defeat their enemies, the most powerful of which may be their own conflicted natures?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Reviewer Recruitment Event

Reviews and reader feedback are the lifeblood of any author and publisher, and Curiosity Quills is eternally thankful for our amazing reviewers, and subscribers to the reviewer mailing list who request review copies or sign up for review tours every month.

But there’s always room for improvement, and we’d love to reach even more readers with our books.

Thanks why September 20 – October 20 is the CQ Reviewer Recruitment Event!

We’d like to invite you to join our reviewer mailing list (if you’re not already a member!)

It’s a great way to get the best Curiosity Quills books ahead of anyone else! Plus, we offer our VIP reviewers a chance to earn perks the more books they review, including great CQ branded swag like mugs, t-shirts and tote bags!
We’re running a special promotion for people who sign up between now and October 20th, where we’re giving away three ebooks of your choice from our catalog for signing up now.
You’ll also be entered into a special giveaway for a $15 Amazon Gift Card and a physical book of your choice.
Existing subscribers are also in with a chance of winning if you get a friend to sign up between now and October 20. You’ll also receive three ebooks of your choice, and be entered into a special drawing to win one of the following prizes (**NOTE** Each person you get to sign up counts as one entry for the main prize draw, so the more people you get to sign up, the more chance you have of winning!):
BOOKWORM BECKY -Adopt a Ghost – Unique Necklace!
Antique Medical Book, The Science of Life Parker 1881 Illustrated / Impotence Male Sexual Dysfunction Quack Science STDs

UnHappenings 99 Cents Sale and Audiobook Giveaway

Curiosity Quills is excited to announce that time-travel romance UnHappenings, by Edward Aubry is now available in audiobook format, on Audible. To celebrate, we’ve reduced the price of the ebook edition to just 99 cents – for September 2 only! – and three lucky commenters will win a audiobook copy of UnHappenings. To win, simply comment on this post or any of the CQ social media posts about the sale.

UnHappeningsUnHappenings:

When Nigel Walden is fourteen, the UNHAPPENINGS begin. His first girlfriend disappears the day after their first kiss with no indication she ever existed. This retroactive change is the first of many only he seems to notice.

Several years later, when Nigel is visited by two people from his future, he hopes they can explain why the past keeps rewriting itself around him. But the enigmatic young guide shares very little, and the haggard, incoherent, elderly version of himself is even less reliable. His search for answers takes him fifty-two years forward in time, where he finds himself stranded and alone.

And then he meets Helen.

Brilliant, hilarious and beautiful, she captivates him. But Nigel’s relationships always unhappen, and if they get close it could be fatal for her. Worse, according to the young guide, just by entering Helen’s life, Nigel has already set into motion events that will have catastrophic consequences. In his efforts to reverse this, and to find a way to remain with Helen, he discovers the disturbing truth about the unhappenings, and the role he and his future self have played all along.

Equal parts time-travel adventure and tragic love story, Unhappenings is a tale of gravely bad choices, and Nigel’s struggle not to become what he sees in the preview of his worst self.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Book Release: Clockwork Menagerie

Happy Birthday!

Karen Kincy

ClockworkMenagerieBirthdayBanner
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to—

Oh, wait, I’m sharing my birthday? Right! This September 1st means I get one more year and one more book. Clockwork Menagerie, a companion novella to my Shadows of Asphodel series, comes out today. The story follows the archmage Konstantin into Russia during the bitter winter of 1914. If you know Konstantin, you won’t be surprised when he gets into trouble with technomancy, clockwork beasts, and a certain handsome airship captain.

Since today happens to be a double birthday, we need cake. Myself, I’m partial to chocolate mint cake with a rich glaze, which my mom bakes upon request. Konstantin, on the other hand, lives and works in Vienna, Austria. He loves the famous sachertorte, chocolate filled with apricot, though he’s secretly the most fond of strawberry torte for his birthday cake.

Who doesn’t love birthday presents? Konstantin daydreams about all the mechanical trinkets and upgrades he could acquire for his laboratory. He hopes that someone will research the latest in technomancy equipment and buy him something cutting edge and dangerous. Though sadly none
of his friends will buy him a gift that might literally blow up in his face.

As for me, I’m pretty bad at guessing about birthday presents. I keep telling people they can always get me more books, but they point to my swaybacked bookshelves and mutter something about me having “too many,” which is obviously impossible. Konstantin would agree with me, though he tends to read more nonfiction than fiction.

When is Konstantin’s birthday? That’s a secret in the books, but I’ll go ahead and tell you it’s February 13. The day before Valentine’s Day, which means blackmail material for more presents. Not that Konstantin would ever do anything so diabolical—he limits his schemes to bigger and better experiments, never mind that they often backfire.

Happy birthday, Clockwork Menagerie, and go party with readers!

cover2500About Clockwork Menagerie

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin’s point of view.
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don’t touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.
To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can’t act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

karenAbout Karen Kincy:

Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

Find Karen Kincy Online:

GIVEAWAY:

il_570xN.758654851_gpjaDragon Steampunk Necklace (found here on etsy)

Open to US Ends Sept. 16th

Prizing is provided by the publisher. Hosts are not responsible. Prize is shipped directly from the etsy seller. If there is an issue a similar item may be used to replace it.

Enter here

 

 

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

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Summer 2015 Review Contest

Summer is officially here! Now that schools have broken up and with many people off to the beach, it’s the perfect time to catch up on some vacation reading. CQ always has a plethora of great titles for you, many of which are often on sale (like our current 99 Cents LGBT Pride Sale)!

But wouldn’t you love to win any two of our physical books coming out this year and our entire ebook catalog, along with a $20 Amazon gift card?!

Well now you can by entering our Summer 2015 review contest, and it’s really easy. Just review any CQ title on Amazon or Goodreads, then send a screencap of the review to marketing@curiosityquills.com.

A winner will be chosen at random on September 1st!

The First Annual Hedlund Summer Steampunk Festival

Treasure Darkly Cover 2000Come to Hedlund for a riveting good time. Arrive in style using your personal steamcoach. Don’t forget to wear your finest attire and top it all off with a shot of absinthe.

Hedlund is home to Clark Treasure, the rogue star of TREASURE DARKLY, a young adult romance set in a steampunk Wild West world. Join him here in Hedlund while wearing your best cowboy boots and goggles. For three days only (July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd), TREASURE DARKLY is on sale as an Amazon ebook for just 99 cents. That’s a quite a steal, and Clark knows a lot about stealing, having swiped a bottle of what he thought was absinthe, but the green liquid actually gave him the ability to save the already deceased.

TREASURE DARKLY picks up when Clark finds the father he never knew – a millionaire rancher meeting his illegitimate son? Ut oh – but what happens while Clark is on the run from the army and its captain who seeks to use him for his newfound power? Check out the following short story for an adventure featuring Clark Treasure in all his bad boy glory.

 

A Treasure Tale

By Jordan Elizabeth

Clark extended his hand for a shake, but the manager of Arvay Ranch shook his head. Not a good sign, that. Clark pulled off his glove, the leather worn almost clear through in the knuckles, and stretched out again, but the manager rocked back on his boot heels.

“You’re an honest looking kid. I like that about you.” The manager turned his head to spit tobacco juice into the dirt. “We’re just mighty filled up here for the time being.”

“I’m willing to do any job, sir. I can wrangle and rope. Work the fields. I know my way with a saw.” Brass glass, he’d be eager to muck out the outhouse if it came to that. His pockets didn’t jingle with coins as loudly as they used to. He’d had to leave his last job at a ranch further south –

a good position where he looked after horses, when the army sniffed too close, and he hadn’t dared stop until now. “I can do housework too. I’ve trained with butlers.” He’d seen them, in the fancy ranch houses. That sort of work seemed to mean politeness and servitude, and not much else.

The manager jammed his hands into the pockets of his denim slacks and narrowed his gaze at the Arvay Ranch. The Bromi woman who’d fetched him from the “Big House,” as she’d called it, stood by a fence with her head bowed.

“Good lookin’ ranch,” Clark said. “Smaller than some I’ve seen, but hearty. A fellow can tell you folk love the land here.” Managers didn’t appreciate sugar-coating. If a man told it like it was, he got further with those who loved work, and Arvay Ranch shone with crisp paint and clean yards. “Place looks run well. Looks like your crop is peaches?”

The manager nodded, tugging at the red bandana at his throat. “We are pretty booked here. Don’t really hire a lot of outside folk. You know what, though. My brother’s the doctor in town and I’m certain he could use help.”

The image of a physician’s saw biting through a man’s gangrene-ridden leg pierced Clark’s mind and he forced his lips to remain in a line. He’d done worse in life. Brass glass, he’d helped the midwife back in Tangled Wire for spare pennies. Maybe he’d be able to use his ability to save a few lives.

“I’d be grateful, sir. I can’t stay forever, just passing through, but I’d appreciate the job for the time being.”

“I’ll write you a letter and some directions. Feel free to get yourself a drink at the well.”

Clark pulled his glove back on and headed toward the pump near the shed. Sunlight beat against his neck, the skin bared by his ponytail, as he worked the brass handle. Water flowed out in clear spurts into a bucket on the grass. He used the hanging ladle to scoop out the liquid, frigid from the earth, and sighed. Nothing beat fresh water from a pump, not canteens or streams. Streams were good, but the water had a grittiness to it that stuck in his teeth.

When his stomach felt thick with water, he sidled back toward his steamcycle, wiping the back of his mouth on the sleeve of his leather jacket. The Bromi woman stared at him while she plucked at the stained apron tied over her calico dress.

Clark lifted his hand in a wave. If he spoke to her in her tongue and the manager returned, he might not be so willing to get him the job.

“I know who you are,” she said.

Talking in her tongue might not be so devastating then. Some ranches treated their Bromi with humanity. “I’m looking for work—”

“Those who die live again for you.”

She meant it in that way then. Ice crept over Clark’s skin and he folded his arms to appear nonchalant as he glanced at the ranch house. A dog barked in the distant fields. “That’s something that’s not talked about.”

“A new Bromi is here. He knew you from the desert. He spoke of you to us. You saved his father from the dark sleep.”

Clark kept his facial muscles slack to avoid looking suspicious. “Glad I could help him, but there are people who don’t like that part of me.”

She nodded so hard her bonnet slipped down her broad forehead. “We never harm our own and you are one of us now. Be careful with Mr. Parker’s brother.”

“How’s that?” Clark leaned his back against the fence beside her, drooping his arms over the top and hooking one of his boot heels into the wood. If anyone looked over, the individual might not realize they carried on a conversation.

“Manager Parker has a brother who’s crazy. Doctor is crazy.” The woman wiggled her fingers in a jagged pattern in front of her face, the Bromi sign for mentally unsafe.

“What’s he do?” The doctors could be cruel to Bromis; not many would treat the natives.

“You smell it on him,” she hissed.

The Bromi relied on spirits and herbs; the woman might be uncomfortable around modern medicine. “Thank you for the warning.”

“Not even you, who befriends the dead, can protect against crazy.”

The brick house’s side door slammed and the manager swaggered across the lawn with a paper in his hand. “You can read, can’t you, kid? You seem like a bright one.”

“Yes, sir.”

“If you know your sums, point that out too.” Mr. Parker slapped the note into Clark’s palm and at last shook his hand.

—-

Clark parked his steamcycle along the dirt road through town. The doctor’s house, a three-story white clapboard with a veranda and four chimneys, had to be the nicest place for miles, at least the nicest place he’d seen all day. Trimmed bushes lined the porch and walkway, and a wrought-iron gate blocked off the property. The doctors Clark had known in the past kept shacks; they didn’t have time to build up a fancy life.

He slung his leg off the ride and hung his helmet off the handlebars. A buggy rattled by in the road and two little boys stood across the street outside the general store. When he looked at them, they darted behind a rain barrel. He’d been like that once, Clark and Mabel, pretending the world was out to get them and hiding in near plain sight would save them.

The world was after them and hiding didn’t help a lost soul.

Clark tested the gate and it swung open – halleluiah for that, he wouldn’t have to try to call for attention from the road – so he shut it behind him and headed to the front door. A brass plaque read: Doctor of Ailments, Lionel Parker. Clark whistled; what other kind of doctor existed?

He lifted the brass knocker shaped like a lion’s head – how fitting with the name Lionel – and let it smack the mahogany door. Clark stepped back and wiped his hands on his denim pants.

No gloves. He pulled them off and stuck them into his jacket pockets. His hair would have to do with a quick brushing of his fingers through the shoulder-length yellow strands.

The little boys laughed from the rain barrel. A cowboy on a horse clopped past.

Clark knocked again. Brass glass, the doctor might not be home. How long would he stay around before he headed out to find the next ranch? Ranches were safe. Drifters wandered through on a regular basis, but workers in stores tended to stick around. People asked questions about folk they saw every day. Hired ranch hands stuck to themselves in the fields or barns. For sure, Mr. Parker wouldn’t have sent him if he’d known the doctor was out, but living miles apart, communication might be sparse between them.

The door opened to an elderly Bromi woman in a black dress. “You need Doc Parker, suh?”

“Um, yes. Thanks.” Clark cleared his throat. “His brother sent me.”

Her dark eyes widened before she nodded. “Come, please. I get him for you.”

Clark stepped into a hallway of red walls and polished wood. No pictures or mirrors offered decoration. She opened a left-hand door and slid aside for him to enter. He wondered how she could move so soundlessly until he looked down, noticing her bare feet beneath her skirt.

Potpourri scented the room to a degree that made his throat clench. Like the hallway, naught adorned the room, apart from the smelly balls hanging from brass hooks in the ceiling. Two velveteen sofas faced each other.

He wasn’t a patient or someone sent to fetch the doctor. Clark had no spare money for medicine, if he’d needed any. He hovered near the window, with its crimson curtains, to avoid touching anything he could dirty with filth from the road.

What did the potpourri serve to hide?

The door opened to a tall, thin man in a black suit…and a ghost with a missing leg. Clark bit back a groan. He should have known a doctor’s office would be riddled with the kind of dead who didn’t want to pass on.

“My brother sent you?” A smooth accent toyed with his words.

Clark held out his hand, but the doctor made no move to shake it. Not a shaking family, the two men. Clark dropped his arm down to his side. “I was looking for work out at the ranch and Manager Parker sent me here. He said you might have something for me to do. I know my words and sums.” He removed the letter from his jacket and held it out; the doctor did accept that. “I don’t plan on staying long, a month at the most.”

The doctor flared his nostrils in his long nose as he read the note. “My brother enjoys the richness of life and the joys of people. I, unfortunately, do not share his feelings. I have seen too many men harm their brethren.”

Clark licked his lips. Doctors had to want to help people. Why else would they invest in learning cures? “Sorry to waste your time, sir. I’ll get off.” On to the next town then. He might find a farm that would give him food for a few hours of work.

Doctor Parker breathed through his lips. “Have you ever helped a physician? Do you know how to measure vials and sterilize instruments?”

Hope lodged in Clark’s throat. “I can sterilize, sure, and if you show me with the vials, I can do that too.”

“Those vials,” the ghost hooted from the doorway. “They’re tainted. Don’t get near those vials.”

Clark caught himself before he could frown. Ghosts tended to struggle with truths.

“I’ll keep you for a day or two,” said Doctor Parker. “I can pay you two cents an hour for odd jobs. If you work out, we can extend that period. I do amputations, son. I need strong hands to hold down the patient.”

It would be lost limbs then. Clark forced himself to nod. “Is there a place I can hunker down? I normally stick to ranches, and they offer food and a roof.”

The doctor snorted, crumpling the paper into his pocket. “I can’t offer you any rooms in here. I keep them for patients to stay in. You know what a hospital is, son?”

“He thinks this place is a hospital,” the ghost hollered.

“I’ve heard of army hospitals.” Clark nodded. Those places he avoided. Besides, he wasn’t salaried by the government. Only soldiers could go there.

“The east has one in each main city. I want to bring the safety of the east out here. That’s where I’m from.”

The ghost drew a line across his throat. “He came out here to torture us stragglers.”

Whatever operation the doctor had done must have failed. Clark had seen it before, men who lost limbs in hopes of saving their lives, but passing on anyway. It had happened to a Tarnished Silver who had worked with his mother. She’d cut her hand on a razor, the wound had festered, and even though the doctor had removed it, she’d grown sicker and left the world in a week.

“I can stay in a barn.” If Clark had to find lodging elsewhere, it would eat up his money like a brushfire.

Doctor Parker touched his goatee, drawing the graying hairs into a tighter point. “My Bromi girl can get you some bedding. Stay in the stable if you want. I have scraps in the kitchen; eat that if you like, but if not, you’re buying your own.”

“Thank you.” He’d lived on worse than scraps.

“If it comes to you being my assistant, you’ll have to wear black. Hides the blood. I see you’re mostly in that now. If we get anyone staying here, I have a no shoes policy. Keeps things quiet for them.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Come on with me to the back room where I mix my medicines. I’ll get you to that and we’ll see how it goes.”

—-

The ghost of a woman with no arms joined the one-legged ghost in the backroom. Clark bent over a table using eyedroppers and glass beakers to fill vials. Doctor Parker had scribbled the recipe on the back of his brother’s note, wrinkles and all.

“Bad man,” the female shrieked. “Look at what he did to me arms!”

Clark glanced toward the door. Doctor Parker had shut it, saying, “If a patient comes, you’re to stay out of sight.”

“Sometimes operations are necessary,” Clark said. The green and blue liquids created a murky purple shade.

“Not this one! Me husband called me an adulteress and off went me arms.”

Clark looked up. “That can’t be the reason.”

“Doc Parker’s known for taking the man’s side. Ask him.” She glared at the other ghost.

The male scowled. “Sure, you got a problem and you pay enough, Doc Parker will help.”

Clark clenched his hand around the glass vial. That couldn’t be true. Anyone in the west knew some doctors wanted money for medicine, then didn’t deliver more than dyed water or sugar cubes, but he’d never heard tell of one amputating limbs for perversion.

“Doc’s crazy,” the female ghost continued. “He has his own daughter locked up. Real bright girl. Sad state.”

Clark pictured a shed with a girl pounding against a padlocked door, and his skin crawled. “What do you mean?”

“The room upstairs, end of the hall,” she exclaimed. “He won’t let her out. He’ll probably experiment on her next. See if she grows back a tongue.”

—-

Clark crouched outside the room indicated by the one-legged ghost. He held his breath as he worked his tools into the lock. If anyone came, the ghosts had better warn him. If it weren’t for their nagging, he wouldn’t have bothered skulking around the house. A girl locked in a shed was one thing; a girl locked in a room was another. She might have a disease. Clark chuckled under his breath; his abilities had better keep him from catching it.

The lock clicked and he slid the toolkit back into his jacket pocket. Easing the door open enough to peer through, he studied a white wall and plain table with a single chair. Not really girl friendly, from what he’d seen. Sure, he knew more about men on the run, but the soiled doves who’d worked with his mother had treasured knick-knacks. His mother would have had a table cloth, a candlestick, maybe a cushion on that chair. He’d drawn a picture for her once with a hunk of charcoal and a meat paper. She’d stuck it to her wall on an old nail and never taken it down, even though neither of them could remember after a few years what the blob was meant to be.

Clark pushed the door open a bit more, and froze. Against the opposite wall, a young girl sat on a cot beside a window, paper taped over the glass as if to obscure the image. Lank brown hair hung down her back, oily and matted, and she wore a shapeless gray shift.

He glanced back into the hallway before he darted inside and shut the door, in case the Bromi slave or doctor wandered by. “Um, hullo.” He cleared his throat and shifted his stance. “Are you… the doctor’s daughter?”

She nodded. “I’m Brenda. Father didn’t send you, did he?” Dark circles lined her eyes a shade grayer than her linen shift.

“A fella your pa worked on told me to find you here.” She didn’t need to know the fella was dead, or that he’d only discovered her after haunting the halls. “I can help you leave. We can go now.” So much for having a good job for a day or two.

“No, I can’t.” An Eastern accent tinged her voice. “I’m sorry, but I can’t, sir.”

The “sir” title didn’t really fit with him, made his skin crawl.

“Are you sick?” He fought to keep from wrinkling his nose.

“I’m not sick. Father said if I tried to leave, he’d never let me find my sister. As long as he’s got me, he’ll keep her safe.”

Clark almost growled. Doctor Parker was the monster the ghosts had hinted at. “We’ll go find your sister then. I can’t leave you locked in here.”

She stood and wobbled; the arms and legs poking from her clothes showed skin and bones, as malnourished as some of the thieves he’d run across in the desert. “If he finds me gone, he’ll hurt her. I know he will.” Her lower lip trembled. She couldn’t be more than fourteen-years-old at the most.

“Brass glass,” Clark swore. Brenda had a point in that. “I’ll find out where your sister is. We’ll get both of you away.”

“He’ll lock you up, too,” she said. “The man’s crazy. I’m safer in here. It’s better to be safe.”

—-

Clark spread the new leather cover over the medical text and glanced at Doctor Parker from the corners of his eyes. The doctor scribbled into a notebook, a gaslamp illuminating his work.

Clark set the tome back on the bookshelf. “Have you been in the west long, sir?”

The doctor hesitated, his stylus hovering above the paper. “Long enough. I am needed here. People need medicine.”

People who wanted their enemies to suffer. “Thanks for doing the good deeds.” The words swelled in Clark’s throat as if to choke him.

Doctor Parker nodded as he returned to his notebook.

Clark pulled down another tome to cover it in the new binding. “Before I got here, I heard you had a daughter. I haven’t seen her around. A little girl,” he added, in case the doctor thought he liked to sniff around pretty skirts.

Doctor Parker set down his stylus, the movements slow and deliberate, his gaze on the office’s only window. “I have no children.” Liar. “That’s enough work for today. It’s getting late and I’ve already sent the slave off for the night.” He turned in his chair to face Clark. “Don’t ask questions here, boy, or this arrangement won’t work out.”

—-

Something shook Clark awake; he clamped his hands down on the offender and he shoved. Maybe he should have opted for the shed, but he’d taken the doctor up on his offer of a pallet in the kitchen. A female gasped; a single candle sent a yellow glow around her shape.

“Brenda?” Clark reached for the pistol he’d left on his belt. When he’d first started sleeping with it out in the desert, it had jammed into his side each time he’d moved, but he’d grown used to slumber in one position.

“I did it, sir. I snuck out. The lock on my door’s faulty and Father never fixed it. Did you know she’s here? My sister’s here.” Brenda’s eyes seemed to glow in the dark of the kitchen. “He’s got her locked in too and he told her the same thing, about behaving so nothing happens to me.” Her voice rose with each word and Clark cringed.

“Hush!” If she didn’t keep quiet—

The door to the kitchen smacked into the wall and Doctor Parker stormed inside, his robe flapping around his legs.

Brenda screamed and yanked at Clark’s hands as though to pull him up, but her father caught her around the waist and shoved her back against him, slapping a cloth over her mouth. She screamed against the rag, slashing at him with her fingernails and kicking with her bare heels.

The doctor muttered as he dragged her into the hallway, her shrieks growing quieter.

Clark gripped the pallet of old linens, his heart pounding. He’d seen something he shouldn’t have. Doctor Parker would have to explain it away and send Clark off before he witnessed more.

“You.” Brenda Parker appeared beside the stove with hollow, black eyes, and marks around her mouth and neck.

“You’re dead.” Clark stood, kicking off a blanket, before Doctor Parker could return.

She touched her lips. “Chloroform can do that, you know.” Brenda lowered her hand to her belly. “Go get my sister. My father’s crazy. Don’t let him hurt Maura, please.”

Clark’s muscles tightened; Doctor Parker knew what he was about. Brenda wouldn’t have been an accident. The doctor would return to deal with Clark.

“That’s how you found out about me. Ghosts told you.” She floated higher before sinking back to the kitchen floor. “Send Maura east. Our grandparents are there and Mother.”

How calm she acted for a ghost. Usually the newly dead screamed at him until they realized he worked better when he understood. “I’ll get Maura.” She’d been alive in front of him, but he hadn’t managed to save her. “You can be with your Mother now.”

Brenda recoiled. “Mother’s not dead. Father made her work as his assistant and she threatened to tell on him for what he did to his patients. He put her up in Wade Asylum and whisked the two of us out here.”

“Does your uncle over at the ranch know about all this?”

“They’re grave diggers together. My uncle used to send parts to my father when we lived in the east.”

Bile rose in Clark’s throat. Sure, that earned a few dollars and he’d seen people decimating graves for an eyeball or brain, but he had enough of the dead on a daily basis without dealing with them in the dirt at night.

The kitchen door swung again – that thing was going to tear off its hinges if the doctor wasn’t careful. Lionel Parker barreled through with his hands clenched into fists. “Get out. You’re not needed.” He fumbled in his jacket pocket, the item thrown on over a thin nightshirt, and threw coins at Clark’s feet.

Clark pulled the pistol from his holster and aimed it at Lionel’s chest. “You killed your daughter.”

The doctor swore as he patted his body, as if searching for a weapon. “I would never do that. Get out of here, you and your lies!”

Clark pulled the trigger and a hole blossomed with blood in the center of his chest. The doctor gulped as she stumbled backwards into the wall and slumped.

“You killed him,” Brenda said.

“Yup.” Maybe his ghost would appear for the other spirits to tear into him.

Clark glanced at the door leading to the backyard, but no shouts came from outside. Someone would find the doctor and Clark didn’t want to be arrested for murder, no matter how warranted. If the men in town liked the doctor to take care of their troubles, including upset wives, then they wouldn’t care about a deceased daughter.

Clark fastened his pistol into his holster. “We’ll free the Bromi so she can get a head start, and then we’ll nab your sister.”

—-

“This one.” Brenda slapped her hand against the door, but it slid through and she grimaced. “Did you see my body down there on the parlor table? What do you suppose he wanted to do with me?”

Clark shrugged; his tongue seemed to have thickened past speech. He worked his picking kit into the lock and waited until it clicked to turn the knob.

“She should be in here,” Brenda said. “I called to her through the door and she answered. She was crying. That’s when I got you.”

That would also be when Lionel Parker overheard Brenda’s escape.

Clark stood, his gas lamp in hand, and entered the bedroom that reeked of mothballs. A little girl huddled on a cot similar to Brenda’s.

“That’s her!” Brenda soared over to the child, whose black hair hung loose.

“Maura?” Clark lifted the lamp higher so she could see him. “We need to leave, Maura.”

The little girl rubbed the back of her hand across her nose. “Where’s Brenda?”

“I’m right here, sweetie!”

Clark licked his dry lips. The child had lived through imprisonment; she couldn’t be reduced to lies. “Brenda’s gone. Your father got her.” If she were Mabel, he would have hugged her and she would have wept, made up some statements about feeling strong. Maura was a stranger, though.

She pressed a pillow against her face and her shoulders trembled.

“Brenda gave me directions to your grandparents in the east,” Clark said. “I’ll send you to them. They’ll take care of you.”

“Mama?” She lifted her face, tears on her cheeks.

“Right. She’ll be there too.”

“But not Brenda.”

“Not Brenda.” The poor chit had to be only seven or eight.

“I’ll be with her the whole way,” Brenda interjected.

“She’ll be with you in spirit.” Clark eased the pillow away from her. “Do you have anything to take with you?”

Maura shook her head, lips parted. Like Brenda, she wore a sack dress, minus the corset.

“We’ll find your father’s money,” Clark said. “Then we can get you a train ticket and something warm to wear. Some food. I’ll wire ahead if we can find the address for your grandparents.”

“I remember the address.” Brenda floated in front of him. “I want you to take some of the money by way of thanks.

It would be the first time a ghost paid him for help. Usually they screamed and vanished. Brass glass, maybe it would be the last time he had to help a ghost. Clark laughed. Nah, his curse wouldn’t let him go that easily.

What’s a festival without games and prizes? You can win this awesome spyglass necklace and be able to see across the desert, in case a rival gang is hot on your trail.

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Gears of Brass CoverCheck out my website for contests related to my books, and you can read the first three chapters of TREASURE DARKLY: http://www.jordanelizabethmierek.com/

Craving more steampunk? The clockwork adventures continue with GEARS OF BRASS, a steampunk anthology featuring TREASURE DARKLY’s own Amethyst Treasure.

The Summer Steampunk Festival might end soon, but you can return to Hedlund in September for the release of BORN OF TREASURE, the sequel to TREASURE DARKLY. Twice the romance, thrice the ghosts, and a heap of clockwork inventions.

As a special addition to the summer steampunk festival, TREASURE DARKLY is on sale for 99 cents this week only! Check out Amazon for the deal.

 

 

 

Treasure Darkly Cover 2000Treasure, Darkly

Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe…until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead. A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged, mining tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

Sixteen-year-old Amethyst Treasure loathes the idea of spending the summer away from her bustling city life to rot on her father’s ranch, but when a handsome young man shows up claiming to be her secret half-brother, her curiosity is piqued. He’s clever, street smart, and has no qualms jumping into the brawl between the Treasures and Horans. Caught in the middle, Horan kidnaps Amethyst, and all she gets is this lousy bullet through her heart.

When Clark brings her back to life, however, the real action starts, and Amethyst joins him in his fight against the Horan clan—whatever the cost. Defeating the Horans may seem easy at first, but going up against men with the same fighting vengeance as Clark, and a Senator with power he’s obtained by brainwashing the masses? Well, Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark.

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The Rearranged life, annika sharma, desi, fall, indian culture

Pre-Order Giveaway: The Rearranged Life, by Annika Sharma

Curiosity Quills is excited to announce that new-adult, multi-cultural, contemporary-romance The Rearranged Life, by Annika Sharma, is now available for pre-order, ahead of its release on May 15, 2015!

To celebrate, Annika Sharma is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway in which one lucky person will win a $25 amazon Gift Card for sharing the pre-order details!

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cover2500About The Rearranged Life

Nithya, a vivacious, intelligent and driven college senior has always known what she has wanted: a successful career in medicine and the love of her family. She’s even come to terms with the idea of an arranged marriage, a tradition her conservative Indian family has held up for thousands of years.

When a night of partying puts her on a collision course with danger, Nithya’s entire life changes.

Enter James St. Clair, the smart, challenging and heartbreakingly handsome American. As Nithya and James fall in love, she questions the future she and her parents have always planned.

Now, Nithya has a choice to make: become a doctor and a good Indian bride, or step away from her family and centuries of culture to forge her own path. The decision she comes to takes her on a journey that transforms how she sees her future, her relationships with loved ones, and how she learns to put herself back together when even her best-laid plans fall apart.

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IMG_0077About Annika Sharma

Annika Sharma was born in India and moved to the United States (Pennsylvania!) when she was a baby. Annika was a daydreamer from day one, always coming up with stories and games of pretend that seemed real. She was a serious journal-writer from fifth grade to college and wrote dramatic scenes for stories often, inspired by soap operas she watched in summers off from school.

Eventually, when the time for college came around, Annika’s parents encouraged her to pursue journalism. Convinced she couldn’t make a living from writing, Annika disagreed. After five years, two degrees, two minors, working with children, being a dancer teacher, and creating a two-and-a-half page resume in college that had interests so all-over-the-place that even she couldn’t make sense of it, Annika finally decided her parents were right. Writing was where her heart was, all along.
In the month before graduate school, the idea Annika had in my mind for years finally poured out in the form of the novel, The Rearranged Life. Annika began editing in earnest after she finished her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, landing Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary Group as an agent. Three months later, she had a book deal with Curiosity Quills.

In her spare time, Annika loves spending time with her family and friends, often indulging in the three S’s: Starbucks, shopping and superhero movies. As a chocolate lover and general all-around vegetarian foodie, Annika also adores cooking.

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18 Thoughts Giveaway

Enter Our Giveaway to win one of five audiobooks and signed paperbacks of 18 Thoughts by Jamie Ayres!

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18-Thoughts-coverAbout 18 Thoughts:

Olga Gay Worontzoff left the Underworld for her final year of high school anxious for things to return to normal, but fate has other plans.

The new hottie at school reads her thoughts but nobody else’s. Her best friend wakes up from his coma acting like a completely different person. Caught in a world that’s a mix of familiar and supernatural, she must confront what she will—or won’t—do to bring him back and stare down her own perceived inadequacies to face a couple of tenacious demons, figurative and literal.

Everything she thought she knew about reality will change as she walks the line between past and present, fear and faith, love and loyalty.

And by the end of a heartbreaking year, she might be forced to realize “normal” in the conventional sense of the word is the one thing she may never achieve.

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Jamie Ayres - Author PicAbout Jamie Ayres:

Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a public school teacher by day.

When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this.

She lives in southwest Florida with her prince charming, two children (sometimes three based on how Mr. Ayres is acting), and a basset hound. She spent her youthful summers in Grand Haven, Michigan and this setting provided the inspiration for her debut novel, 18 Things.

She really does have grandmothers named Olga and Gay but unlike her heroine, she’s thankfully not named after either one of them. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Visit her website at www.jamieayres.com

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